What is a corneal abrasion?

Medically reviewed by Feel Good Team, at Feel Good Contacts.
The cornea covers the pupil and iris and is essential a protective window over the eye. You may liken a scratch on the cornea to an ‘eyeball’ scratch. It is one of the most common eye-related injuries and is usually the result of some kind of trauma.

What causes a corneal abrasion?

Common causes of a corneal abrasion include getting hit in the face, scratching one’s own eye, walking into something, or a sports related injury. In some rare incidences, it can also be caused by rough insertion and removal of contact lenses.
Any object that comes into contact with the front surface of your eye with force has the potential to cause a corneal abrasion. Sand, dust and other airborne particles have the potential to cause a corneal abrasion, particularly if you rub your eyes.

How painful is a corneal abrasion?

Scratches on the cornea can cause pain and discomfort in the eye. They are painful because the cornea is served by numerous nerves. Ultimately, how painful a corneal abrasion is depends on what caused the trauma to the eye.

What are the signs and symptoms of a corneal abrasion
(scratched eye)?

You may also notice that your eyes are redder, more watery and sensitive to light.
Corneal abrasions that affect the central part of the cornea may cause problem with the clarity of your vision. Headaches, blurry vision and eye twitching are lesser common symptoms.

How long does it take for a corneal abrasion to heal?

As the eye heals, the pain reduces, but it can take anywhere form 24 – 48 hours for a corneal abrasion to heal.


Is a corneal abrasion an emergency?

A minor scratch be easily treated with basic medical attention and first aid. In more server cases, if left untreated, a corneal abrasion can become infected and lead to a corneal ulcer. If you feel a significant amount of pain and notice obvious changes to your vision, it is highly recommended that you seek medical attention immediately.

How to cure corneal abrasion or scratched cornea?

Most eye scratches are minor and heal within a few days. If you experience severe pain and changes to your vision, you must seek medical attention immediately.
Your ophthalmologist may give you antibiotic or steroid eye drops to treat the inflammation caused by the scratch in the eye. The following will also help with treating a scratched eye:

 Wearing sunglasses to prevent light sensitivity
 Rinsing your eye with a saline solution or water
 Blinking repetitively to clear particles
 Avoiding rubbing the eye
 Do not wear contact lenses until your eye has healed


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